Mass worker mobilization, police riots, and a raging fire in the rubble of a collapsed factory marked Workers’ Memorial Day in Bangladesh yesterday. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports the arrest of executives from three garment makers, along with the owner of the former Rana Plaza in Savar, Bangladesh following public outcry and demonstration.
So far, more than three hundred and sixty are confirmed dead, with many more missing. Rescue operations were halted due to the fire within the rubble of the large Rana manufacturing complex that literally fell apart last Wednesday, and authorities now say they are switching from manual searches to machine assisted recovery operations.
The usual culprits are cited as causing the disaster: shoddy building materials, unskilled labour, sub-standard building codes, and rampant corruption at all levels of the Savar Municipal Corp., the licensor. But what’s really behind the death and carnage in Savar, and so many other places, and who bears ultimate responsibility?
Daniel Kovalik is Senior Associate General Counsel for the USW, or United Steel Workers union, teaches international human rights law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is a long-time peace and justice activist. Dan has focused on the movements for peace and justice in Colombia and Central America, where he serves as an attorney for Colombian plaintiffs in cases alleging corporate human rights violations. He’s also co-recipient of a Project Censored Award for chronicling the murder of trade unionists in Colombia.
Dan Kovalik in the first half.
And; in 1998, oil patch consultant, Jessica Ernst moved out to Rosebud, Wheatland County in Alberta’s heartland. She bought a little house on a tidy bit of land serviced by fresh wells sunk into the Rosebud aquifer. It was an idyllic spot, until EnCana arrived to carry out experiments on a new way to get money out of the ground. The new process was called “hydraulic fracturing,” and anyone who hasn’t heard of it by now, and the dangers it poses to water, wildlife, and people must be living with their head in a hole in the ground.
Those dangers have been exposed in the States, most famously in the documentary film, Gaslands, and dramatized in Matt Damon’s recently released feature film, ‘Promised Land.’ But despite the growing clamour against the practice, or perhaps because of it, fracking is progressing full tilt with ever more wells across ever-broadening jurisdictions.
When Jessica Ernst’s water went bad, she knew why and who was to blame. Ernst filed suit against EnCana, and the company’s enablers in the government of Alberta charged with regulating the industry and protecting the environment. But filing a suit is one thing, fighting it quite another.
Jessica Ernst and when David meets the whole Goliath clan in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what’s good to do in and around Victoria in the coming week. But first, Dan Kovalik and Labour’s global fight from Bogota to Bangladesh.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/